The current DDOA Board, elected in September 2018, were obliged to obtain clarifications and advise about various legal matters following the communications and allegations of the previous board that Dunas Douradas needed to be managed as a condominium and as a consequence, existing contracts and arrangements were invalid or illegal.
This position was based on an aggressive and controversial interpretation of current Portuguese law relating to planning regulations and based on advice provided by a local Loule based law firm. This interpretation, if pursued, would clearly be subject to challenges in court by a number of parties.
Therefore, it was imperative to clarify the key issues and way forward for property owners as the ongoing uncertainty was having a negative impact on the standing of Dunas.
We therefore asked PLMJ, one of Portugal’s leading full-service law firms with particular expertise related to planning, real estate and tourism law, to provide a legal opinion on the matter. PLMJ was already familiar with the situation related to Dunas Douradas and their latest opinion is in line with several other opinions we are aware of.
The main conclusions from PLMJ’s report are:
- Dunas Douradas does not constitute one single development and this basic assumption by the former board is therefore wrong;
- Decree Law 555/99 cannot be applied retrospectively to developments approved before this law came into place (there is of course a common principle in all developed countries that no laws can be applied retrospectively), and this basic assumption by the former board is therefore wrong;
- There is no legal requirement that Dunas Douradas must be managed under condominium law:
- There are no common areas identified relating to the entire development. In particular Zone A (a separate freehold property comprising the offices, restaurant, reception area, pools, tennis courts etc.) cannot be deemed such a common area and this would constitute a violation of normal property rights under the Portuguese constitution.
- The Management Conditions constitute a service contact applying to all owners in Dunas Douradas.
- These Management Conditions comply with Portuguese Law. Failing to meet payment obligations under this contract gives the Manager the right to suspend any defaulting owner from services offered, including the right to security services and to use reception services and the swimming pools.
The full report can be found in the members section, legal area.